Due to the shortage of commercial drivers in most developed countries coupled with an ever increasing need for more goods to be delivered the age of commercial drivers is going significantly upwards.
Furthermore, the working conditions in the transport sector are less attractive in today’s modern world to younger drivers. More driver testing resulting in additional costs in obtaining a commercial vehicle licence in the first instance is turning young drivers away from entering the industry. Low rates of pay with poor management practices fails to retain those that do make the initial cut.
All this means the average commercial driver is getting older. Some countries are actively recruiting retirees to meet their demands. Questions are being asked however by road safety advocates as to whether this is putting everyone more at risk.
A recent CBS News study in America has found an almost 20% increase in the number of drivers involved in accidents in the last three years alone. The study showed a large increase in drivers of both trucks and coaches aged in their 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s involved in accidents.
Local and National authorities are reluctant to deal with the issue head on and as several companies have done are pointing out that is is wrong to discriminate on age grounds. In Europe too there has been a noticeable absence of younger drivers entering the transport industry and as drivers skills are more in demand it is feasible to believe that European companies will follow suit and recruit older drivers. Drivers traditionally would not have been candidates for retraining with companies taking the view that if they train drivers they leave – of course the counter argument is that you don’t train them and they stay, but it is likely that this statistical pattern will emerge in Europe in the future.